At a news briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Trump has been “keeping a close eye” on the Oroville Dam emergency and is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist state officials.
“The situation is a textbook example of why we need to pursue a major infrastructure package in Congress,” Spicer said. “Dams, bridges, roads and all ports around the country have fallen into disrepair. In order to prevent the next disaster, we will pursue the president’s vision for overhaul of our nation's crumbling infrastructure.”
The White House is working closely with Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), whose district includes Oroville and surrounding communities, to help communities affected by the emergency, he said.
More than 2,000 evacuees from the Oroville Dam emergency sought assistance at a community shelters and the Red Cross, according to organizers.
The evacuees got meals and had a place to shower at the Silver Dollar fairgrounds in Chico, according to the American Red Cross of Northeastern California. They received toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and other essential items.
More than 100,000 people were evacuated from communities downstream of Lake Oroville on Sunday night after concerns arose that an emergency spillway could fail.
As work continue to prevent disastrous flooding at Oroville Dam, one big question keeps occurring: How did we get here?
The operators at North America’s tallest dam found themselves in a precarious position, with both spillways used to release water compromised and the reservoir still filled almost to capacity after a winter of record rain and snow. It's a drama that began a week ago and got worse day by day.
California and local officials are rushing to repair the spillways at Lake Oroville and lower the water level by as much as 50 feet ahead of rain forecast for later this week. Damage to the spillway was first noticed Feb. 7. That set off a series of actions by officials concerned that damage to an emergency spillway could cause large amounts of water to be dumped into the Feather River, which runs through downtown Oroville.
Teresa Seim of Oroville evacuated to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico.
Scrutiny continued to grow over the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam after it eroded Sunday, forcing the evacuations of more than 100,000 people.
The damage occurred even though the spillway was designed to handle much more water than the amount that overflowed. Some questioned why officials didn’t heed suggestions more than a decade ago to fortify the emergency spillway.
Earth and weak rock near the top of the spillway started to erode when peak flows were 12,600 cubic feet per second, compared with the designed capacity of 450,000 cubic feet per second, according to the Department of Water Resources. The erosion happened so quickly that officials feared the concrete wall would be undermined, and ordered sweeping evacuations in Butte, Yuba and Sutter counties that remained in effect Monday night.